Edmar Castaneda World Ensemble releases debut album

Edmar Castaneda is the Jazz Journalists Association Player Of The Year (category ‘Instruments Rare in Jazz’) again. It is the third time he has received the prize. The JJA prizes are all presented during a live performance, and Edmar received his at the launch concert of his new album: Edmar Castaneda World Ensemble, Live at the Jazz Standard.

Truly international, the ensemble comprises musicians from Brazil, Turkey, Chile, Switzerland, Colombia, Israel and the U.S.A, and an instrumental line-up including harmonica, canun, flute, saxophone, keyboards, trombone, drums, percussion, vocals, and the EC Llanera harp we developed with Edmar.

The disc is all Edmar’s original songs, apart from ‘Carrao Carrao’, which is his arrangement of a haunting Venezuelan love song and a tour-de-force for Andrea Tierra. There are fascinating arrangements of songs such as Jesus de Nazareth, Double Portion and Cuarto de Colores, and the entirely new Zamir Blues, written for Edmar’s son, with a striking funk groove. “It’s blues written in a  mode with a Moroccan,  African swing groove”, says Edmar. “That’s what I call it.”

“All the members of the World Ensemble are artists I’ve worked with before in smaller constellations, duo and quartet and so on”, Edmar continues. “They’re all amazing musicians, I love the passion in their playing…and they’re all from different parts of the world, so they bring so many different influences and colours to the music too. They’re my friends, and I was looking for a chance to bring them all together. Anyway, this year Bruce Sherman called me to play in the Weehawken Summer Concerts on the Hudson again. It’s the fifth time I’ve played in this festival, so he was asking me what I wanted to do – and I thought, why not? So that’s the first time we brought the ensemble together. I arranged the music like a big harp, the horns play the voices of what I play with my right hand. The piano is playing the colores and support the harmony , the bass stay with my left hand , and I’ve added percussion for colour and drums to groove, you know.

Really, it has been very special, very spiritual. It was like everybody’s praying in the same spirit. I felt blessed. I remember, this first time we played together, the guys called me and said man, let’s do it again, there was really a lot of happiness…so we did two nights at the Jazz Standard, and the album came out of it.”

Download the Edmar Castaneda World Ensemble, live at the Jazz Standard, from iTunes – or buy a disc from the Camac e-store, your one-stop shop for harp music, CDs, DVDs, books, strings and accessories…

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